Mark-Almond – To The Heart

Another Record We’ve Discovered with (Potentially) Excellent Sound…

and One We Will Probably Never Shootout Again

Some records never justified the time and money required to find Hot Stamper pressings of them in order to make it worth our while to do them again. This is one such album, and the link above will take you to many more.

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  • It takes two copies paired up to get Triple Plus (A+++) sound for both sides, but here they are, a Triple Triple 2-pack
  • With Roy Halee’s brilliant engineering, the sound is as big, rich, clear, open, and ANALOG as you could hope for
  • New York State of Mind and Here Comes the Rain, Parts 1&2 have a wonderfully relaxed, mellow, jazzy vibe
  • Allmusic users give this one 4 1/2 Stars and we think that’s about right

A 2-pack is the only way to get top quality sound and surfaces on this title — the pressing quality is all over the map, with bad ABC vinyl no doubt holding back potentially good sounding pressings. If the vinyl doesn’t hold onto the sound of the stamper, your needle sure won’t be able to find it in the grooves. The lack of space, the lack of size, the lack of richness or clarity are all too common with this record, even when the stampers are right.

Many copies were gritty, some were congested in the louder sections, some never got big, some were thin and lacking the lovely analog richness of the best — we heard plenty of copies whose faults were obvious when played against two top sides such as these.

That’s why we do these shootouts. It’s the only way to discover the musical and sonic qualities the best pressings are capable of. It simply cannot be done any other way.

Their Best?

We think so. It still holds up today, 39 years later! Two of their best songs are here on side one: New York State Of Mind and Here Comes The Rain.

Engineered by Roy Halee, the man behind one of the best sounding Rock records of all time, Blood, Sweat and Tears second album, the sound here has much in common with that album: it’s tonally right on the money, dynamic and transparent.

Our Famous 2-packs

Our 2-pack sets combine two copies of the same album, with at least a Super Hot Stamper sonic grade on the better of each “good” side, which simply means you have before you a pair of records that offers superb sound for the entire album.

Audiophiles are often surprised when they hear that an LP can sound amazing on one side and mediocre on the other, but since each side is pressed from different metalwork which has been aligned independantly, and perhaps even cut by different mastering engineers from tapes of wildly differently quality, in our experience it happens all the time. In fact it’s much more common for a record to earn different sonic grades for its two sides than it is to rate the same grade. That’s just the way it goes in analog, where there’s no way to know how any given side of a record sounds until you play it, and, more importantly, in the world of sound everything is relative.

Since each of the copies in the 2-pack will have one good side and one noticeably weaker or at best more run-of-the-mill side, you’ll be able to compare them on your own to hear just what it is that the Hot Stamper sides give you. This has the added benefit of helping you to improve your critical listening skills. We’ll clearly mark which copy is Hot for each side, so if you don’t want to bother with the other sides you certainly won’t have to.

TRACK LISTING

Side One

Medley: New York State of Mind/Return to the City
Here Comes the Rain, Parts 1&2
Trade Winds

Side Two

One More for the Road
Busy on the Line
Everybody Needs a Friend